I noted that some of the daily prayer requests that I have are what would be considered intensive care patients if they were in a hospital. One of those is the son of one of my work colleagues. His situation is complex and because of his circumstances, he has been obliged to deal with the complexities of our legal system for several years. His circumstances are precarious but his faith is strong that eventually truth will conquer. In the meantime, in order to keep going and not lose heart he and his family need the prayers of their brothers and sisters in the faith. I am so glad that I am able to be one of his stretcher-bearers, bringing him to the Lord when he is no longer able to come in his own strength and cheering him on when he is able to stand on his feet. I do not know many of the details of his story nor do I need to. All I need to know is that he is committed to doing what he believes is right and dealing with all that comes his way as a result. As I pray for this man and his challenges, I am grateful that through no merit of mine, I have not had to walk the path he is walking, but I can by my prayers accompany him.
Last fall when I attended Missions Globales, the Montreal version of Missions Fest, there was a table where you could sign up to pray for a particular country. I was planning to go to Cartagena, Colombia to accompany some of our Opportunity International donors for a visit to see how their donations were being stewarded. When I saw that Colombia was on the list of countries, I requested the information so that I could begin then to pray for Colombia. I felt that it would be a good preparation for me to be open to the people of Colombia.
I remembered how when I first went to live in France, I had begun to pray for the people there as I met them and for that country. I recall how it made me open to learn about them and the things that were important to them, as I began to learn the language and communicate with them.
The experience was similar in Colombia, although I certainly do not yet have the grasp of Spanish that I do of French. Nevertheless, I sensed an attitude of openness in the Colombians that gave me courage to try the limited vocabulary that I had and their smiles rewarded me for my efforts, especially when they actually understood what I was saying.
The list of requests that I received for Colombia included some generic requests that would apply for any country as well as some requests specific to Colombia. The kit also provided some background information like the main industries and population density, as well as other data about the country that gave me a greater understanding of what I might expect. However, when I arrived in Cartagena it seemed a different place entirely. I had no idea it was so beautiful. I had no idea that the people were so kind and friendly. I had no idea of the grinding poverty and the dreadful history that has been the lot of so many of our industrious, devoted clients. What a privilege was mine to meet them. Now when I pray for Colombia each day, it is with a far more personal understanding of the challenges and potential of this beautiful country. Here is a video of it if you would like to see Cartagena for yourself and the work that we do there.